By Tom Moore
Despite predictions by ornithologists and biologists that this would be a big year for northern finches, grosbeaks and redpolls, this year’s bird count volunteers were disappointed in the small number of birds spotted on Saturday December 15th in the Brome Lake area.
Tree seeds and cone crops in the north-eastern Boreal forests were reportedly poor this fall, thus encouraging winter migrant species to temporarily increase their population south in search of food, but not to these parts apparently.
Weather was good with moderate temperatures and no snow, rain, or wind, and 31 participants tallied 1109 total birds with 33 different species (Last year’s count: more than 1400 birds, 33 species). This year’s was the lowest number on record for the Brome Lake count.
Chickadees were the most numerous species (317), followed by wild turkeys (126), mallard ducks (118), blue jays (112), and mourning doves (79). Northern migrants were visible in small numbers: evening grosbeaks (64), three female pine grosbeaks, and 47 juncos. Resident cardinals numbered 12 and one brown creeper and one tufted titmouse were spotted, plus two ruffed grouse. Snow buntings, a barred owl and a sharp-shinned hawk were also seen in the count week period.
Audubon’s website (www.audubon.org/bird/cbc) has all the data from past Christmas Bird Counts and can be searched for trends over the years. All the Brome Lake count data is searchable back to the early 1990s, when the first count here took place.
Many thanks to everyone who participated.
Tom Moore: 514-946-2445 or firstname.lastname@example.org